While 2019 is the "Year of the Pig", 2018's record as the "Year of the Review" seems to show no sign of stopping as we have yet another review into one of our key sporting institutions.

After a reportedly "confronting and challenging" New Zealand Cricket World T20 campaign review, White Ferns coach Haidee Tiffen will take a leave of absence from her role as the side takes on Australia in a three-match series next month.

The review was prompted after former captain Suzie Bates after she expressed her feelings of division and tension within the leadership group after last year's World Twenty20 campaign in the Caribbean, in which they did not make it past pool play.

The review recommended all coaching and support staff roles be advertised at the completion of their contract periods, a statement which clearly says a shake-up is dearly needed in the highest positions of women's cricket in New Zealand.


For those who lived under a rock for the past 12 months, this is just the latest in a long line of reviews across multiple sporting codes, including football, rugby, cycling, netball and hockey.

All six of these reviews have been damning in their criticism of the way these institutions operate, citing behavioural incidents across the board, professional incompetence and down-right unlawful action towards players and staff alike.

The constant condemnation of our national sporting bodies in review after review, begs the question: What the hell is wrong with New Zealand sport?

The sheer number and range of sporting codes which have gone under this process should surely act as an alarm to those who participate in the lower levels. It seems impossible that this kind of behaviour does not filter down to those who answer to the ones at the top.

We only need to take football and cycling as examples why this is more worrying than people seem to think. Both resemble each other in the extensive bullying that was observed in the reigns of Football Fern coach Andreas Heraf and Cycling New Zealand chief executive Andrew Matheson.

These were shocking revelations to all but those involved in the sport who have had an extraordinary weight to bear. Trying to perform on a global stage while taking stick from the, primarily, men upstairs is near impossible. No wonder the form of most athletes involved dipped.

In comparison, the reviews into hockey and schoolboy rugby were more tame, but just as insightful. Women's hockey coach Mark Hager managed to get out without too much scarring and we are yet to see much change from the review into schoolboy rugby.

However, both added to the argument that systemic issues erode the integrity of particular sports and the review process is seemingly the only answer.


An interesting point is to see the main people involved in these reviews are women. In hockey, football and cricket, all reviews resulted from female athletes speaking up and opposing the unsatisfactory behaviour from their seniors.

This is a victory for female athletes who, it seems, have the power to push back and demand for accountability, but also a severe warning that should it happen to men in sport, they have not found the ability to speak out against their perpetrators.

Perhaps it happens more in women's sport, I don't think many would be surprised. However, you must ask yourself what this says about what kind of person New Zealanders officials see as the "right man for the job" when it comes to sport. Maybe whoever is making those decisions should have their head firmly on the review chopping block.

We don't know the specific details contained in New Zealand Cricket's review. It may simply be a comment on personnel issues, which a lot of the review saga can be put down to. It's all too familiar to see the people in high-up jobs without the proper skills to execute it with the professionalism it deserves.

I hope this means we are reaching the end of the reviews, but sadly, it seems very unlikely. Just because a review suggests recommendation does not mean they will be followed.

Maybe they will work. Maybe the review is the key to cleaning up the game. Maybe it's just a waiting game until that generation slowly dies out, their shoes left to be filled by those more fitting.


However, as these questions remain unanswered and the reviews keep coming, the credibility of our highest sporting institutions continues to lower.